Sunday, August 15, 2010

The First Church of Robotics

Click here to read this challenging op-ed piece from Jarod Lanier at the New York Times

WHEN we think of computers as inert, passive tools instead of people, we are rewarded with a clearer, less ideological view of what is going on — with the machines and with ourselves. So, why, aside from the theatrical appeal to consumers and reporters, must engineering results so often be presented in Frankensteinian light?

The answer is simply that computer scientists are human, and are as terrified by the human condition as anyone else. We, the technical elite, seek some way of thinking that gives us an answer to death, for instance. This helps explain the allure of a place like the Singularity University. The influential Silicon Valley institution preaches a story that goes like this: one day in the not-so-distant future, the Internet will suddenly coalesce into a super-intelligent A.I., infinitely smarter than any of us individually and all of us combined; it will become alive in the blink of an eye, and take over the world before humans even realize what’s happening

Some think the newly sentient Internet would then choose to kill us; others think it would be generous and digitize us the way Google is digitizing old books, so that we can live forever as algorithms inside the global brain. Yes, this sounds like many different science fiction movies. Yes, it sounds nutty when stated so bluntly. But these are ideas with tremendous currency in Silicon Valley; these are guiding principles, not just amusements, for many of the most influential technologists.

It should go without saying that we can’t count on the appearance of a soul-detecting sensor that will verify that a person’s consciousness has been virtualized and immortalized. There is certainly no such sensor with us today to confirm metaphysical ideas about people, or even to recognize the contents of the human brain. All thoughts about consciousness, souls and the like are bound up equally in faith, which suggests something remarkable: What we are seeing is a new religion, expressed through an engineering culture.

4 comments:

淑蕙春蕙春芬 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。..................................................

翊翊翊翊張瑜翊翊翊 said...

看到大家都留言-我也忍不住說聲---加油..................................................

said...

認識自己,是發現妳的真性格、掌握妳的命運、創照你前程的根源。............................. ....................................

惠NorrisBradwell041花 said...

與朋友在一起,分擔的痛苦是減半的痛苦,分享的快樂是加倍的快樂。......................................................................